For this Chestnut, Wild Mushroom and Bacon Soup recipe stock up on cans of vacuum-packed chestnuts, which are normally readily available in good delis, shops and large supermarkets at Christmastime. If you want to keep the soup vegetarian, garnish it with some sautéed mushrooms instead of bacon.
– 50g (2oz) dried wild mushrooms
– 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
– 450g (1lb) peeled chestnuts, chopped (canned or vacuum-packed)
– 1 large onion, finely chopped
– 100g (4oz) piece rindless quality assured smoked bacon, finely chopped
– 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
– 1.2 litres (2 pints) chicken or vegetable stock
– 200ml (7fl oz) cream
– Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper
– Lightly whipped cream and snipped fresh chives, to garnish
1. Place the dried wild mushrooms in a heatproof bowl and pour 400ml (14fl oz) of boiling water to cover. Set aside for 20 minutes until they have plumped up. Drain the mushrooms and gently squeeze dry, reserving the soaking liquid.
2. Heat a large pan and add the rapeseed oil. Add the chestnuts, bacon, onion and drained wild mushrooms and sweat gently for 10 minutes until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Season to taste.
3. Add the thyme to the pan with the reserved soaking liquid and stock, stirring to combine. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for another 20 minutes.
4. Stir in the cream and allow to heat through for 1 minute, then whizz with a hand blender until as smooth as possible. Season to taste and ladle into warmed wide-rimmed bowls.
5. Garnish each one with a little drizzle of whipped cream and a sprinkling of chives. Serve at once
Foodie Heaven from Neven
The MacNean Gift Card from Neven Maguire, award-winning chef of MacNean House and Restaurant in Blacklion, Co Cavan. The perfect Christmas gift for food lovers or for someone very special this Christmas, this Gift Card can be used across MacNean House & Restaurant, the Neven Maguire Cookery School, the new ‘Neven Maguire Hamper’, as well as Neven’s books and DVD collection.
A beautiful surprise for those who love great food, the Neven Maguire Hamper includes Neven’s new book ‘The Nation’s Favourite Healthy Food, MacNean Christmas Pudding, a delicious Ham Glaze, Jam, Marmalade, Fig & Cranberry Chutney, Mulled Wine Spice Mix, Coole Swan Chocolate Truffles and a flavoured Donegal Rapeseed Oil.
The MacNean Gift Card and the new ‘Neven Maguire Hamper’ are available from nevenmaguire.com or call 071-9853022.
Since Neven took over the family business in 2001, MacNean House & Restaurant has been consistently winning awards for its food, service, wine offer and overall dining experience. In addition to his Neven Maguire Cookery School, where Neven presents a range of exciting cookery classes for all skill levels, he has also launched his exclusive ‘The Chef’s Table’ dining experience. Hosted in the beautiful and private surrounds of his cookery school, Neven and his team cook in front of diners and present the restaurant’s acclaimed Tasting Menu. Accompanying wines are presented and served by the restaurant’s sommelier. Visit nevenmaguire.com for more information.